While everyone is obsessing over the soon-to-start 2015 season, another year in the books should prove good for the maturation of the Mets roster. There will be more changes afoot next year, though perhaps not as many as you might think.
1B Lucas Duda – It would take a worse than Ike Davis type of swan dive for Duda to lose his spot at 1st base. First of all, there’s no one behind him other than teammates Michael Cuddyer and possibly Wilmer Flores. Kevin Plawecki could play there but low power first basemen are a rare commodity.
2B Wilmer Flores – it’s a fait accompli that they will not be retaining the services of Daniel Murphy. He’s expensive and on a good day only adequate in the field. He doesn’t have enough power to justify a long term investment when there are other options available. I’ve been squarely in Flores’ camp offensively for some time now, but I understand his limitations in the field. Towards that end I anticipate a shift of Flores from SS to 2B.
SS Matt Reynolds – this Spring Reynolds opened up quite a few eyes with the stinging line drives coming off his bat. Assuming he can maintain a steady pace in Las Vegas this year I would anticipate a move into the left side of the Mets infield.
3B David Wright – he’ll be there regardless of how well or poorly he does in 2015.
LF Michael Cuddyer – if he’s healthy then he’ll likely return for the final year of his deal playing primarily in the OF and spelling Lucas Duda at 1B against some left handed pitchers.
CF Juan Lagares – you could make a case that after David Wright he’s the second most popular offensive player on the team (though more for his glove and arm than his bat). He’ll be a fixture there until free agency hits.
RF Curtis Granderson – there are 16 million reasons he’ll be back in the outfield. Hopefully he earns his paycheck this year and then no one will be complaining about it in 2016.
SP Matt Harvey – if you think everyone’s excited about his return this year, expectations will be sky high for 2016 given he’s another year removed from surgery. Cy Young talk will fill the airwaves and the blogs.
SP Jacob de Grom – your second ace will continue to make the job look ridiculously easy. He’ll be the Tom Glavine to Harvey’s Greg Maddux.
SP Rafael Montero – this name may come as a surprise, but remember the whole Super Two situation with Mssrs. Syndergaard and Matz. While everyone is clamoring for them to come up in 2015, there’s no room in the rotation for either one of them (barring injuries and/or…what’s that little used vehicle called again…oh yeah, trades). Consequently if they go through the year without promoting either of them from Las Vegas then they’ll be held back to start the season.
SP Jon Niese – if healthy, he’ll be the initial lefty in the rotation but he may be moved once Matz makes it to Queens. His contract is still reasonably priced and a healthy 2014 would go a long way towards increasing his value.
SP Matt Bowman – again, with the future pair of prospective aces toiling in Las Vegas until the Super Two deadline passes, an under-the-radar type like Bowman may be brought up to fill the void for the first 3-4 weeks of the season. The projection is that he won’t be earning the kind of money Syndergaard and Matz will command, hence they could promote him to start the season without regard to Super Two status as they did with Rafael Montero during 2014.
RP Bobby Parnell – a year removed from his surgery, I would expect the closer’s role would revert to the less flamboyant strikeout artist who lost it not due to incompetence but neck and arm trouble.
RP Jeurys Familia – he’s the heir apparent for the closer’s job.
RP Dario Alvarez – I’m guessing a year with Frank Viola tutoring him in the fine art of control will get him into a late inning role.
RP Jack Leathersich – Viola’s magic may or may not take, but I’m guessing he’ll at least get a chance to play a major role in the pen.
RP Carlos Torres – steady as ever and a rubber arm, Torres will return to his long man role.
RP Akeel Morris may jump all the way to the majors if he can even come close to what he did in 2014.
You’ll note several names not on the list. They include:
- Zack Wheeler – he’ll still be recovering from his TJS.
- Josh Edgin – same situation as Wheeler.
- Vic Black – it looks as if he may be the next one going under the knife.
- Jenrry Mejia – not liking his increasing price and showmanship, he’ll be shipped out of town in a trade.
- Bartolo Colon – gone as a free agent if not traded during the 2015 season.
- Dillon Gee – a non-tender candidate a’la Mike Pelfrey, me may price himself out of a job if they find no takers for a trade.
- Daniel Murphy – same situation as Bartolo Colon.
- Brandon Nimmo -- I don’t foresee Brandon Nimmo forcing any of the incumbent outfielders to the bench.
- Kevin Plawecki -- he's not likely pushing Travis d’Arnaud aside (and they probably value TdA’s home run swing more than they do the higher batting average Plawecki would provide).
- Michael Conforto -- he's a very dark horse to make the club but that would necessitate finding a new home for one of the outfielders. His bat will have to show a lot of power to make that vacancy happen.
- Dilson Herrera -- I'm not off his bandwagon, but I predict he is going to repeat AAA (at least to start the year) as he is still very young and looked overmatched this Spring.